Piano-playing in partnership constitutes a significant and vital complement to solo performance. Since the 18th century, there have always been compositions “à quatre mains”, duets, in abundance, attracting aficionados. On the other hand, published work for piano for six hands remains peripheral. There is little original composition, mainly arrangements of well-known orchestral pieces (overtures, symphonic music), offering music at home the possibility of “private” performance when there were no other options to hand. Nevertheless, there is enough to re-discover and experience anew.
Charles Burney (1726-1814), to whom we owe the educational merit of “Duets for two performers”, also points out one of the difficulties of that entirely new genre: “and although at first sight the greater proximity of both players' hands seems restricting and confusing, a little practice and imagination as regards fingering and positioning of hands will eliminate these problems”. This applies particularly to these original (and adapted) piano pieces for six hands. They are intended for both school and home, and used appropriately and intelligently by a discerning teacher may offer pupils equal “study and leisure” opportunities. Apart from the first original compositon for six hands by Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach (1759-1845), a grandson of J.S. Bach, this book contains in particular “pièces célèbres” in skilful arrangements by Theodor Herbert (first edition 1880) and Max Schultze (first edition 1888).
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